May 5, 2008

Volume 2, issue 36
May 5, 2008
The Fountain

Nominate staff for Abraham Award by May 16

The annual Janice Abraham Award is presented to staff members who have made significant contributions and provided outstanding service to Whitman College. The award honors and celebrates staff who go above and beyond job expectations, bring forward creative and innovative ideas, promote the philosophy of customer service and contribute to the excellence found at Whitman. Award presentations, including a cash prize and a plaque, will be made at the Staff Appreciation Luncheon, June 4, 2008.

Nominations will be accepted through Friday, May 16, 2008 and may be made by any staff, faculty or student. You may nominate only one person. Nominees must be current Whitman staff (non-faculty) members and have been employed by the College for a minimum of two years as of May 16, 2008.

Forward your nomination to Cindy Waring, director of administrative services, Memorial Building #102 (or e-mail Please include the name and department of your nominee and include a paragraph describing why this staff member deserves this award. If you would like to resubmit a previous nomination, you may do so. All previous nominations are on file in HR, so send a note requesting the previous letter be pulled. Questions? Call x5172.

Click here for a list of past winners of the Janice Abraham Award.

UB covers Whitman: Udall winner, Sherwood, Ren Faire

Union-Bulletin readers got the chance last week to learn lots about Whitman, as the newspaper included several major stories that also made the UB’s online version:

  • A front-page feature on student Elena Gustafson ’10, who received a Udall Scholarship.
  • A report on the Sherwood construction project that included a rendering of the facility.
  • A recap of the Renaissance Faire and a photo of King and Queen Delbert and Kathleen Hutchinson. (pictured)
  • Coverage in the sports section of Whitman tennis and baseball
  • Coverage in the hard-copy version of the paper also included a report on Whitman’s three Watson Fellowship winners, Joseph Bornstein ’08, Teal Greyhavens ’08 and Erik Anderson ’08 and Truman Scholarship recipients Caitlin Schoenfelder ’09 and Erica Goad ’09.

Faculty Accomplishments

Paul Apostolidis, associate professor of politics and Judge and Mrs. Timothy Paul Chair of Political Science, wrote an opinion piece on immigration that was published in the current issue of Diverse Issues in Higher Education. In “Perspectives: Why People Come,” Apostolidis asks: “How does our perspective on justice change and grow when we try to understand what immigration is all about by listening to the voices of immigrants themselves?” From his own interviews with immigrants, he concludes that “immigration is a crucible of ethical identity” because the choice is made “on the basis of [immigrants’] core values of self-reliance and family responsibility.” Click here to read the full article.

Kate Jackson, assistant professor of biology, was in Washington, D.C., last week to speak at the Smithsonian Institution. Her appearance coincided with the publication of her new book about snakes, “Mean and Lowly Things.” The title isn’t meant to demean snakes; it comes from a quote by Aristotle: “To understand the world, we must understand mean and lowly things.” Jackson’s book recounts her expeditions in the Congo, where she carried out herpetological surveys and collected snakes. Her inspiration comes from Mary Kingsley, the 19th century English explorer and writer who greatly influenced European ideas about Africa and African people. “She was a wittier writer than I,” said Jackson. Not to mention a more eccentric one. “Yes, she thought it very unladylike to wear men’s clothes in the wild,” said Jackson. “There she was the middle of West Africa, trudging through swamps in Victorian dresses.” opinion piece affirms Whitman’s excellence

Claiming rankings — U.S. News & World Report in particular — “use the wrong measures,” has published a contrary analysis in an opinion piece titled “How to Choose a College.” The author is Richard Vedder, director of The Center for College Affordability and Productivity, a “not-for-profit” center based in Washington, DC. The CCAP staff comes from a broad background focused on the education industry. The CCAP exists “to help facilitate a broader dialogue on the issues and problems facing our institutes of higher education,” according to the organization’s Web site. Vedder writes that the center evaluates colleges on success, looking to such data as percentage of students who earn Fulbrights, Rhodes Scholarships and other prestigious scholarly awards. Whitman’s rank in the CCAP’s analysis is No. 9 of 94 liberal arts colleges. Want to read more? Click here.

Two programs bring kids to campus, promote college aspirations

The third annual "I'm Going to College" program brought 56 Green Park Elementary 5th graders to campus in late April. The students participated in classes with Deberah Simon, lecturer of chemistry, Allison Calhoun, associate professor of chemistry, and Andrea Dobson, associate professor of astronomy and Div. III chair. Reflecting the balance of academics and co-curricular activities that helps define Whitman, the kids heard about our sports teams and athletic opportunities from Coach Tom Olson and saw a slide show of Brien Sheedy's ascent of Mt. Everest. They also toured campus and heard from President Bridges and Tony Cabasco, dean of Admission and Financial Aid, about the importance of a college education.

The students received T-shirts and backpacks donated by Northwest Education Loan Association (NELA) and notebooks created by professors Dobson, Simon and Calhoun. To help fill the backpacks, the Admission and Financial Aid offices donated dictionaries and thesauruses, and Key Bank, US Bank and Bank of America provided calculators, pens, key chains, rulers and various other items. Varga Fox, director of financial aid services, and Marilyn Ponti, assistant director of financial aid services, partnered with Susan Busch of NELA to coordinate the event.

And this week, on Tuesday, May 6, about 350 “bigger” kids — 7th graders — will spend the morning all over campus for the Gear Up “Harvest of Hope” program. GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a part of a federal grant program. Washington State University administers the grant in partnership with local school districts. The students are from Walla Walla, College Place, Touchet, and Prescott; they’ll participate in activities intended to demonstrate the realities of college life and how each of them can make a plan for college. Among other activities: campus tours, Theatre Sports, science experiments, Latin dance, first-aid skills, volleyball with student athletes, art workshops, and a look at local geography and rock formations. Anne Thatcher, assistant director of admission, is coordinating the program.

Coming Events
All events are free unless otherwise noted.

Monday, May 5
Concert: Divertimento Chamber Orchestra, conducted by student Lee Mills ’09. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music.

Save the dates

Thursday, May 15, through Saturday, May 17
Play: Harper Joy Theatre presents “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare. Music by Mark Nichols and musical arrangements by Fred Wells. 8 p.m. on HJT’s Alexander Stage. Tickets and info (509) 527-5180.

Friday, May 16
Recital: Marianne Symeonides, senior piano recital. 4 p.m., Chism Recital Hall, Hall of Music.

Sunday, May 18
Commencement: The Class of 2008 graduates. Commencement speaker is William Gates Sr., co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 11 a.m., Memorial lawn. Complete information is available online.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Janice Abraham Award
UB Covers Whitman
Faculty Accomplishments
New Ranking in Forbes
Programs Bring Kids to Campus
Coming Events

Past issues

The Fountain is published by the Office of Communications. Send news to Editor Lenel Parish at Photos are accepted. Submissions are due by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the following week's issue. Editorial Assistant: Marcy Manker ’10. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: